Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Xmas from New York Rocks

Waaay back in the vault, we found the New York Rocks Christmas special from 2008. For those of you not 'in the know,' New York Rocks is the greatest community television show from Staten Island that showcases local cock rockers and sub-D-list actors. It's like Tim's Terrible Tunes but with guests. (Props to Mustard Man, Amanda Curtis, and Ginger Shulick for managing to keep a straight face throughout this seasonal episode.) So get the children, fire up the Yule log, and gather around the laptop - it's xmas time.

Staten Island loves Dunkin' Donuts

Starbucks is for effete snobs. Dunkin' Donuts is for real blue collar New Yorkers.

This is a stereotype, sure, but it's also true - as evident in the annual numbers released as part of a highly detailed yearly survey on retail chains in New York City. Read it here.

A chain store census can say a lot about people.

Staten Island has a favorable Dunkin' Donuts to Starbucks ratio, specifically 30:8 (or 15:4 if you're a math whiz). Compare this to Manhattan, where Starbucks has infiltrated the city like roaches and outnumbers D&D 194:115. Pitiful.

Sure, Brooklyn has a more favorable ratio (126:17), but factor in all those boutique coffee shops and your back in the effete category, at least in Park Slope/ BoCoCa/ Williamsburg/ Brooklyn Heights/ etc../../../../..

Also notable in the annual survey: only one Staten Island Au Bon Pain (in the Ferry terminal); no Chipotle, Five Guys, Pret A Manger, or Le Pain Quotidien.

We don't like that French crap.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Old Spice guy from Staten Island

Yes, that's right someone had to do a parody of the Old Spice guy, and it had to be Staten Islander Vinny from MTV's sleaze-fest Jersey Shore. Naturally. This will be a New Year's Eve we will never forget - especially if the Snooki midnight ball drop goes as well as that new Spider Man musical.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ghostface Killah's Apollo Kids Twitter rant

Tomorrow, Tuesday December 21st, is the official release date for Apollo Kids, Ghostface Killah's fantastic new album. We heard a copy last night and it's up there with Fishscale and Ironman - maybe not Supreme Clientele territory or even Big Doe Rehab, but definitely better than Pretty Toney.

Anyhow, in anticipation for his new album, Ghost has been hitting the Twitter lately, and last night he went balls to the wall.

The following is a chronological rendering of last night's epic tweet-a-thon where Ghost waxes poetic about women, crack, rented furniture, and Oprah. Yeah, it was pretty impressive:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Staten Island's 2020 subway map

Christmas is always full of unrealistic, unfulfilled dreams: a diamond ring, new XBox, full-time job with benefits? Maybe next year. But we can still wish can't we?

Now you can throw a Staten Island subway into the mix. Writing for City Limits, Samuel I. Schwartz ponders a whole slew of public transportation initiatives that can bring New York City's infrastructure into the 21st Century.

He also comes up with the following modest proposal for our (mostly) forgotten borough:
A subway extending into Staten Island 
One could go from St. George to the Battery into the T-line. Another could go from Clifton to Bay Ridge to link with the R train (groundbreaking for this subway was held in 1923; let's open it for the centennial). Both would originate from the existing Staten Island Railway. While we're at it, let's also re-establish the Staten Island North Shore Railroad and attach a West Shore link.
Fan-tastic. Not one, but TWO subway lines spewing out of Staten Island.

We got an exclusive look at the proposed subway line, from an artist rendering. A graphic depiction of how the Clifton to Bay Ridge tunnel will operate.

2010 Pros and Cons: Grimm and SI Girls

It's that time of year, everybody!

It's been a busy week, but we wanted to create a Top 10 list, compiling the 'best and worst' of Staten Island for the year. However - as usual - we found ourselves endlessly contemplating the merits of each and every one and then taking a nap.

So due to laziness and/or over-analysis we came up with Pros and Cons - a series of posts that look into the good and bad of this epic and tumultuous year of all things Staten.

Staten Island Girls:

This mini-meme sensation from our Staten shores was probably deemed sad and pathetic by most people who watched it, but we saw some redeeming qualities in this.

The obvious contradiction in this YouTube vid getting over 500K views was that a large percentage of viewers were laughing at, and not with, these young women. We are guessing they intended on making a mockery of the SI/Jersey Shore couture, but being so entrenched and isolated on this peculiar island, the girls gave us a unique insight into the race species that is 'the young locals.'

Friday, December 10, 2010

Angelina: Jersey Shore to porn star?

Where do you expect Jersey Shore star Angelina Pivarnick to go for employment? Back to the dental office on Bard Avenue?

Aw, hell no. Radaronline is reporting that Staten Island's serial reality TV show quitter was recently made a $50,000 offer she simply can't refuse. It could make her the borough's first celebrity porn star.

The offer - launched by hot shot celeb sex tape company Vivid (Google it) - requires the production of a Jersey Shore-themed porn movie starring the so-called Kim Kardashian of Staten Island.

In the prospective deal, not only does Angelina get the $50K, but also shares in the profits. Not bad. But, she told Radar that she wasn't likely to take it:
When asked if she was prepared to do the porn, Angelina told "No, I'm not. I'm definitely not."
So what happens now? Are we done with this woman? Has she had her run, or will she stick around and show up at Fushimi for the Season 3 premiere, attracting the local media and SILive video crew?

The problem with Angelina - like others in the Shore cast - is that there is no intrinsic value in what she does, like the 500 dollar bill

She's not even rich like other, more successful mindless entertainment stars, so the prospect of following her everyday life is not particularly exciting. Unless, of course, she is naked.

Abstract Art and National Lager Day

It's the perfect gift for mom and dad.

This weekend only, you can go ahead and cross everyone off your Christmas list, without going near the Staten Island Mall.

At the bitter end of Hylan Boulevard one of our borough's finest cultural institutions is holding a holiday art and craft fair - or something to that effect.

At The Alice Austen House you can find vendors with homemade stocking stuffers, doo-dads, binglebots, and bejewelments for all the members of your extended family.

Mom/gf/wifey: feminist collage art. Artsy brother's dorm room: abstract oil paintings. Grandma: handmade mittens. Rover: gourmet dog biscuits. Also, something called typewriter soap(?).

Check, check, check, and check.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Media Column: Post-racial television

The election of an African American president was supposed to usher in a new era of post-racial America. It didn't happen. We're still divided; at least in the political realm. Two years of Barack Obama's presidency has shown us that people can still revert to ugly (though, sometimes latent) generalizations about race – even if it takes the guise of an assumed Muslim faith and Kenyan nationality.

But one element of our culture has evolved recently: popular television. A place that once showcased a myopic vision of minorities and homosexuals – reducing these and other groups to gross caricatures and fodder for cheap one-liners – has introduced smart and complex shows with realistic and well-intentioned individuals, who for once can be judged by the content of their characters.

Black characters were once relegated to their traditional role as sidekicks (Daryl from The Office, Deacon from King of Queens) while gay people were simply happy to be invited to the party as something acceptable to laugh at (Will and Grace). Both ABC's Modern Family and NBC's Parenthood offer sober and vibrant examples of the struggles, challenges, and pleasures inherent in fostering a 21st Century extended family, with blemishes and all.

Thirteen's video of The Greenbelt

Thirteen has a great online project called The City Concealed. It's awesome for people who like to find these bohemian, off the beaten path destinations throughout the five boroughs. They did one on the Freshkills Park Project back in June.

Here they traverse the Greenbelt in all its beautiful, wooded glory. The Greenbelt Conservancy has protected the area from greedy developers since the '70s. It turns out Robert Moses wanted to build a highway through it - just like everything else.

The Greenbelt isn't exactly a New York City Park, but rather a conglomerate of different parks, forests, and camps - or something like that. Pouch Camp was a piece, but 'Boooo' to the Boy Scouts for screwing that one up.

Watch the video:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Road Trip: Kill Bears in Jersey

Time to go huntin'.

Fill up your gun rack and camouflage gear 'cause we're headed over the Bayonne to Northern New Jersey where the big bear hunt is currently underway.

In an attempt to control the bear population, Gov. Christie has decided to play offense. The state sold $2, 6-day hunting permits to almost 7,000 Jerseyans for this week.

Hunting bears has been illegal in the state since the '70s, so the bear population has blossomed leaving some people to cry foul that black bears were encroaching on their New Jersey lifestyle. There was another brief bear hunt back in '05, but Jersey needed another week-long extermination.

Still, some people protested the big bear hunt. PETA is, like, totally pissed.

Hunters have killed over 300 bears so far, putting a sizable dent in the bear population. But what do they do with all these dead bears? Well, one idea sounds delicious: eat them.

Check out this video from of butchers carving up the goods. Yummy.

Video after jump:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Surprisingly cogent homeless man at the Ferry

What's the intrinsic value of a 500 dollar bill?

It's not every day that you're asked this question at 8:30 in the morning. It's also not every day that you find a rambling homeless man at the Staten Island Ferry spouting off about Obama, the Federal Reserve, and North Korea yet somehow making more sense than Glenn Beck and the entire Tea Party combined.

He started off by singing a word for word rendition of 'My Favorite Things' before launching into this epic diatribe.

I'm not sure what the point is. But I'm pretty sure there's one in there somewhere. It's a palpable mix conspiracy theorizing and anti-government angst. He also tried to explain why the Ferries are orange and black (something to do with the Dutch, don't remember.)

Notice the meticulous attention the detail, the honest self-awareness, and the uncanny ability to string complete sentences together in an apparently random ad lib. This guy has a bright future at Fox News.

Video after jump:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ghostface Killah: 'Beats is like women'

Most of us will have to wait a few weeks to hear more nuggets of wisdom from Staten Island's most successful rap artist: Ghostface Killah.

Ghost (aka Tony Starks) will release Apollo Kids on December 21st. The album will probably be better than his last album (the R&B-inspired Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City) but not as good as his classic Supreme Clientele. We're hoping it is somewhere between Pretty Toney and Big Doe Rehab.

But more importantly, what sorts of classic lines will Ghost give us. This is the dude who spit out lyrics like: "Remember when I longdicked you, and broke your ovary?"

Well, anyways here is a video of Ghostdeini laying down some wisdom and a track for Apollo Kids -with the winner of some Red Bull contest.

Ghost on the importance of good beats:

"Beats is like women," he says. "He might be a good MC, but look at the music he chose. His girls is messed up."

The beat is not bad, a very Wu-Tang appropriate. Scroll after the video for a tracklist and guest appearances for Apollo Kids.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One last bet on OTB

How much longer can OTB survive?

"They'll let us know Tuesday, one way or the other," the cashier said.

She sat behind a glass partition at the OTB in the Elm Park section of Staten Island. My ear was pressed up against a small metal grate in the window, trying to listen.

The woman had been perched on her stool for years, taking bets from methadone addicts, Social Security recipients, and 30-year-old graduate students trying to fill a curiosity and professional requirement.

How long had she worked there?

"Too long," she said with a slight smile and air of resignation.

Her career might come to a sudden and abrupt end this week unless the State Senate can vote on a last minute rescue package to save the 50 betting parlors across New York. OTB could be gone for good.

It's hard to imagine an outer borough without Off Track Betting. The institution has been around since the '70s when the government decided to take a commission from a favorite vice of immigrant communities: gambling.

Sal from 91st Street doesn't take wagers on horses and numbers anymore. Uncle Sam is the bookie.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's up with the floating Xmas tree?

We were driving on that beautiful, but barren, stretch of waterfront parallel to Bay Street when we saw (what looked like) a mysterious floating Christmas tree.

Because of unnamed impediment (read: laziness) we didn't take a pic, but thanks to @GirlontheFerry we now have visual proof of this holiday miracle.

Driving by, we thought the 'tree' was placed on a dock, but the image clearly shows water between us and the ornament. Weird. Who put it there? How does it float? (cue: double rainbow) What does it mean? The world may never know.

Area of detail (in case anyone wants to swim out there and check it out):

Welcome Walter Schreifels to Cargo Cafe

Walter Schreifels (the dude from seminal hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits, influential '90s pre-emo power group Quicksand, and also Rival Schools) will be visiting Staten Island for the first time Saturday night.

Give him a nice welcome. It's not everyday we get a legendary musician playing a small venue on Bay Street.

The show is at Cargo Cafe. 8 bucks. Pablo and The Amber Jets are opening. DJ Mike Spinella is, well, DJing. It's a no-brainer.

There's really not much else to say except some people have bitched about the cover charge. Get over it. Some adults need to earn a living.

For the younger folks: the dude opened for Weezer. How awesome is that?